Starlight’s Edge review

starlightsedgeStarlight’s Edge (Timedance 2) by Susan Waggoner

Piccadilly Press 2013

Zee has given up her entire world to be with David, confident that love and their desire to be together will overcome all obstacles. But is love enough?

Beneath its lustrous surface and dazzling technology, New Earth is full of challenges, including David’s wealthy, powerful and highly competitive family, whose plans for David’s future don’t include anyone like Zee.

As Zee struggles to adapt to her new life, she must also find a way to re-establish her career as an Empath and fledgling Diviner. And then when David vanishes on a mission to Pompeii on the eve of the Vesuvius eruption, Zee realizes that he is in mortal danger. Will she be able to rescue him in time?

WARNING: Contains spoilers for NEPTUNE’S TEARS (TIMEDANCE 1)!!

Whenever I review a sequel, I try not to give too much away about the first book just in case any of you haven’t read it – but because there was a completely game-changing twist at the end of NEPTUNE’S TEARS, I’m going to have to break that rule on this occasion!

I really fell for Zee’s story in NEPTUNE’S TEARS, set in a future earth where she works in a hospital as an Empath, using her telepathic and empathetic powers to help people heal. She is resilient, emotionally intelligent and determined, and I couldn’t help rooting for her when she met the enigmatic and handsome David. I hoped that they could find a way to be together, even though the odds were against them. He’s out of bounds for two reasons: because he’s a patient she treats at the hospital, and an alien… or so we think until the end of NEPTUNE’S TEARS.

Zee and David do get to be together (hurray!), but at dramatic cost to Zee when she leaves behind her family, friends and the whole world she knows to travel xxx years into the future to the year 3738 with him to New Earth. Now, many a heroine has given it all up to be with the man she loves, but this is taking things to a new level! Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket! With so much at stake, it makes reading about Zee’s efforts to get to know David’s family and settle into life on New Earth all the more loaded – time to find out what happens after the ‘happily ever after’ moment.

And what a place to have to settle into… In this uber-futuristic world you can cross the Atlantic ocean on an underwater high-pressure train in an hour and get all the nutrients you need from nano-fabricated (but tasteless) food that appears at the click of a button. Everyone has a computer that looks like a Rubik’s cube that gives them instant access to every aspect of their life – but you have to be careful because computers have developed minds of their own, and not all of them are friendly. It’s all described with Waggoner’s characteristic light touch – giving you enough information to picture the scene but without getting bogged down in technical details. David’s family are the sort of high-flying high-achievers that would make me want to crawl into a corner and hide if I were his girlfriend. I think Zee and I are in agreement on that one, but she somehow brazens it out and the couple grow stronger. The relationship definitely feels more realistic than in the first book, where it had a touch of the instalove about it.

The Empath theme, which I enjoyed reading about so much in NEPTUNE’S TEARS, isn’t as prominent. There are no Empaths on new Earth, because illness has been eradicated. But Zee, showing her characteristic determination and capacity for independent thought, does pursue the Diviner training that she had begun before leaving her own time. The focus of this book is time travel, as David, his brother and their fellow Time Fleet agents plan various missions back in time to gather information about the culture and history that was lost when civilisation was all but wiped out by a meteor strike that happened in Zee’s original lifetime. I’m going to contradict myself slightly here because even though I really admire and enjoy Susan Waggoner’s light-touch style, I did feel there were so many ideas touched upon – about time travel and its impact on people, and likewise with all the fancy nano-technology – that couldn’t be explored fully in the space of such a short book. The mission to Pompeii is the dramatic climax of the book, but I felt more drawn to the stories of the time refugees, other people like Zee who had travelled from different centuries, and enjoyed reading about how they try to find a way to make sense of their lives in a future that is so alien to the time zones they come from.

Delinquent Librarian’s verdict: A fast-paced, thoroughly enjoyable read, jam-packed with plenty of food for thought – but too short!

 

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